A group of national pizza chains has reportedly formed a new coalition to combat proposed menu labeling regulations that would require companies with 20 or more food outlets to post calorie information on menus and menu boards. Mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the Food and Drug Administration’s April 2011 draft rules call on restaurants to display calories ranges for all customizable menu options as well as the overall calorie count for each item. The American Pizza Community (TAPC), however, has opposed the measure as unfair to those enterprises with highly variable offerings that are unlikely to be consumed by one person. “A light bulb goes on when people hear about all the combinations for pizza,” said TAPC Chair Lynn Liddle. “They start to realize how difficult it would be to make a one-size-fits-all approach.”
TAPC members have also argued that not only are 90 percent of pizza orders placed online, but that digital tools such as calorie calculators might be a more effective means of delivering the same information. To this end, the coalition has traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers to voice their concerns, a move that has apparently puzzled consumer groups like Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). “We heard the same types of arguments from the whole restaurant industry when they were opposing menu labeling in the early days,” CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo Wootan was quoted as saying. “I don’t know what’s up with the pizza industry.” Additional details about the proposed regulations appear in Issue 389 of this Update. See TAPC Press Release, June 19-20, 2012; The Washington Post, June 20, 2012.